How close has the world come to meeting its end? Very close, and more times than you think. We know from geologists, paleontologists, and archaeologists that the planet was slammed by asteroids millions of years ago, and the impact virtually wiped out life on Earth. And this was long before humans were on the scene.
Since the ascent of mankind, humans have staved off possible extinction from massive volcanic eruptions, floods, and ice age glaciers.
More recently, many of the threats to our planet have originated with ourselves. Since the end of World War II, we have lived with the Damocles sword of nuclear annihilation, and we have come close to that fiery demise more than a few times because of miscalculation, computer malfunction, and human error.
We are not free from unwelcome visitors from the cosmos, either. Solar flares, asteroids, and comets have threatened our existence in the past and continue to do so.
With a nod toward our mortality, 24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of the ways the world could have ended, using resource material such as Live Science, NASA, National Geographic, and Scientific American.